Why This Isn’t My 40th Anniversary

Mandy McElroy
6 min readSep 24, 2021
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I miss this girl. Forty years ago she was happy and excited to be married in a couple of days. Optimistic, everything she had ever wanted seemingly falling into place.

Never particularly materialistic, not a seeker of fame or fortune, just an ordinary life. But that was not to be. What seemed to be virtually perfect slowly became not so. It’s insidious you see, the way love and happiness are slowly chipped away. I’m not exactly certain when it occurred, over an extended period of time, years. But the girl in the picture is long gone. She no longer exhists.

How does a marriage last so many years, then just 3 months before a 40th anniversary, be permanently terminated with the signature of a judge? I honestly don’t know. If I did I would be a millionaire. I could sell my magic potion in a bottle. It would bestow upon all who drank of it great wisdom. Wisdom to foresee various outcomes, therefore avoiding them by doing, or not doing what would ultimately lead to the dissolution of a union that never should have been broken.

But alas, that ability escaped me. In hindsight, I see so many mistakes, mistakes made in my opinion mainly by my husband, but certainly, I also see many poor choices and decisions I made. I want a do-over. Although even that may not have saved us. Unless my husband was able to see and avoid all of his mistakes, chances are the love would have died anyway, at least on my behalf.

He never meant to hurt me, he’s not that kind of person, but his failures and inability to discern what he was doing to me literally killed the love I had once had for him. Much of it was a lack of awareness. The thought that so many things, things of importance, large and small, never occurred to him as I stood silently by absorbing hurt after hurt, never arguing or making him aware of my feelings, was somewhat akin to nails in a coffin. Each blow drove another nail in the coffin that contained our marriage until finally the enclosure was completely sealed. It had been for many years before I left.

The lack of awareness extended through the time I chose to tell him I was leaving. He was completely stunned, signaling things would have continued as they always had, had I stayed. Still, I question every day if I made a mistake. Did I trade one set of problems for another…

Mandy McElroy

Divorced for 2 years, after leaving a 40 year marriage. An adult daughter removed herself and her children from my life due to my decision. The pain remains.

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